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Old February 18th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #1
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Will this workflow keep good quality?

Hey Everyone,

Ive got a large project (around 10 hours of footage) that i need to edit down to 5 separate videos, each being around 2 - 5 mins. The footage is half interviews, done against green screen, that need to be keyed. And half B-roll footage that will be used when the people hit a relevant topic.

I'll need to export the project for the web and DVD. I shot everything on a Panasonic HMC150, at 720 30P. Here is how im thinking of editing:

- Bring AVCHD files into Adobe Premiere Pro CS4

- Edit down to a rough cut

- Export the sequence as cineform from PPro. (the footage is converted through the same process and quality as if it had been done through HDlink right?)(can i use TMPGEnc 4.0 Express for this export?)

- Import that cineform file into After Effects CS4. Do all color correction, grading, text, effects, and green screen keying.

- Export from After Effects as Cineform

- Import back into PPro for any final tweaks

- Export Cineform file from PPro

- Convert to web and DVD formats using TMPGEnc 4.0 Express (was told this was better than exporting to web and DVD straight out of PPro.


I didnt use Dynamic Link between PPro and AE in this outline because many people have told me it is unstable on larger projects.

It seems like my process requires me to export and import a lot, but ive been told working with a rendered file is much easier than trying to import a sequence from PPro into AE or anything like that. Im new at all of this stuff though so please feel free to give me any recommendations. Thanks!

- Shawn
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Old February 18th, 2010, 10:08 PM   #2
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I usually just convert the native footage to Cineform with HDLink, then start editing. You won't lose much with three or four CFHD generations, with the encoder set on "High". You're right about Adobe Dynamic Link. It's very cludgy and frustrating when it breaks down at the wrong time. Maybe it will work better in CS5.

BTW, if you've got the disk space, temporarily archive all the "intermediate" Cineform versions, until you deliver the project. You never know when you might need them.

I sometimes go a step further than what you have outlined, in that I might also save intermediate CFHD generations when compositing in AE. A good example is when I use Mocha to stabilize footage. I usually like to tweak the stabilization settings, until I have the stabilization as good at it can be, then render and do the rest of the AE chores.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 08:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Whiting View Post
Here is how im thinking of editing:

- Bring AVCHD files into Adobe Premiere Pro CS4

- Edit down to a rough cut

- Export the sequence as cineform from PPro. (the footage is converted through the same process and quality as if it had been done through HDlink right?)(can i use TMPGEnc 4.0 Express for this export?)

- Import that cineform file into After Effects CS4. Do all color correction, grading, text, effects, and green screen keying.

- Export from After Effects as Cineform

- Import back into PPro for any final tweaks

- Export Cineform file from PPro

- Convert to web and DVD formats using TMPGEnc 4.0 Express (was told this was better than exporting to web and DVD straight out of PPro.
Hey, Shawn. Interesting...

Is there a reason you don't want to or don't feel it's necessary to just convert to Cineform right off the bat? I've always found staying in a single codec throughout a project much easier. I suppose it would be as clean a render as using HDlink to start, but I'm not clear on why you'd what to do it that way.

Also, remember that you can open a Premiere timeline in After Effects and do all you color correction, grading, etc. using adjustment layers. This allows you to skip an encode. One less generation loss to worry about.

Now I haven't used TMPGenc in a while, but I don't think it supports any expert other than the mpeg flavors it has built in. It's great for the DVD encode, but I don't think it will export your sequence to Cineform.

Adobe Media Encoder may not be great at everything, but it does do a fantastic .flv encode for the web. As it should since Flash is Adobe's baby.

That's my 34 cents.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #4
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Jay, thanks for the response!

"I sometimes go a step further than what you have outlined, in that I might also save intermediate CFHD generations when compositing in AE. A good example is when I use Mocha to stabilize footage. I usually like to tweak the stabilization settings, until I have the stabilization as good as it can be, then render and do the rest of the AE chores."

Does this mean you would be backing up each time you export a new cineform file? Just in case you need to go back one or two steps at some point, and dont want to have to revert all the way back to the original cineform files?

Is there a stabilizer in PPro or AE CS4? Now that i think about it, some of my stuff could probably use a stabilizer.

-------------------------------------

Chad, thanks also!

"Is there a reason you don't want to or don't feel it's necessary to just convert to Cineform right off the bat? I've always found staying in a single codec throughout a project much easier. I suppose it would be as clean a render as using HDlink to start, but I'm not clear on why you'd what to do it that way."

The only reason I dont want to convert everything from the start is i will probably end up with around 10 - 15 hours of footage for this project. So converting all that to cineform, and then backing up the cineform files, would take up a huge amount of space.

If I can bring everything into PPro and edit AVCHD fine, which i can, why not just do that, and then export a much more concise cineform file of the clips i will actually be using.

Also cineform is having a problem with my panasonic hmc150 720 30p files right now, and im not sure how long it will take their support to get me a patch so that i can start converting to cineform. If i stick to my plan to get to a rough cut in AVCHD, i can start editing right away.


"Also, remember that you can open a Premiere timeline in After Effects and do all you color correction, grading, etc. using adjustment layers. This allows you to skip an encode. One less generation loss to worry about."

yeah, ive heard of this, but im new to the whole adobe collection and compositing in general. If this means im just importing a PPro sequence into AE without rendering it, whats the difference between that and dynamic link? And if it means it renders out the sequence and then AE finds that within the PPro project and pulls it into AE, whats the difference than if i just exported from PPro?

Thanks for helping me out!

- Shawn
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Old February 19th, 2010, 09:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Does this mean you would be backing up each time you export a new cineform file? Just in case you need to go back one or two steps at some point, and dont want to have to revert all the way back to the original cineform files?
Yes. These days, you can find a decent 1TB HD for ~$90 US and you can build a fast RAID array not only for short-term archiving, but also to speed up other file-based processes. It pays to save intermediate files temporarily, if you have the drive space. Of course, with a big project, that may not be feasible.

Quote:
Is there a stabilizer in PPro or AE CS4? Now that i think about it, some of my stuff could probably use a stabilizer.
Yes. AE has a built-in stabilizer and also comes with V1 of Mocha for AE, which is a pretty nifty planar (vs point) tracker/stabilizer. If you like the free V1 Mocha AE (which is a bit elaborate and does have an initial steep learning curve), you can upgrade to the most recent version for a nominal fee. NewBlueFX also sells a much simpler (but still credible) stabilizer plug in that works with both PP and AE for under $100 US. The website Video Copilot has a nice tutorial for using the built-in AE stabilizer:

VIDEO COPILOT | After Effects Tutorials, Plug-ins and Stock Footage for Post Production Professionals

You can Google "NewBlueFX stabilizer" and "Imagineer Systems (Mocha)" to find out more about those stabilizers.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 09:26 PM   #6
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Hey, Shawn. That's a fair explanation. I edited a feature film that came in about 8 hrs. of raw footage. It took 2TB between the media raid and the backup. I'd still consider a full backup of your media drive. How bad would it suck to have your media drive burn out half way through the project with no backup in place!

Just opening a PPro timeline in AE is quite different than using Dynamic Link. What I mean is simply importing the timeline as an asset into AE and opening it as a project. Dynamic Link will "dynamically" make changes to your AE project if you make changes to the PPro timeline. The way I'm talking about will not do that.

The way you laid out your workflow I'm sure will work just fine. Workflows are generally somewhat personal to each editor. Me, I do as few generations as possible of the entire project. I do all keying and other visual FX as separate projects, importing the final renders into my timeline, and leave color correction and grading for my final step.

You've given it a lot of thought and it sounds like your confident that it will work for you. As it relates to quality, it should look great. It's Cineform! Best damn intermediate out there...
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Old February 20th, 2010, 01:26 AM   #7
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Thanks again Jay and Chad for your quick replies and great advice.


"Just opening a PPro timeline in AE is quite different than using Dynamic Link. What I mean is simply importing the timeline as an asset into AE and opening it as a project. Dynamic Link will "dynamically" make changes to your AE project if you make changes to the PPro timeline. The way I'm talking about will not do that."


Right, i understand it would not function like dynamic link. But how is importing a PPro timeline as an asset into AE different than if i exported my PPro timeline and then imported into AE? Sounds the same to me, except instead of exporting from PPro it just reads / copies the PPro project from the timeline and makes it into a AE project. Is that right?

Even if i chose to do it that way, i would need the timeline to be cineform, rather than AVCHD (horrible for AE), so i would have to get a rough cut done in AVCHD, export to cineform, bring that back into PPro, then go into AE and import that timeline. Does that give me any advantages over just going from AVCHD rough edit to cineform export, then bringing that straight into AE as a rendered file?
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Old February 20th, 2010, 07:55 PM   #8
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"But how is importing a PPro timeline as an asset into AE different than if i exported my PPro timeline and then imported into AE? Sounds the same to me, except instead of exporting from PPro it just reads / copies the PPro project from the timeline and makes it into a AE project. Is that right?"

It's just a way to skip one render. Each render counts as a generation with some quality loss, although very little loss especially when you're using an intermediate like Cineform. And you're right. you'd absolutely want to do Cineform from the start if you were to do it this way. So, stick with your original plan. The loss is virtually unnoticable.

Good editing! It's supposed to be fun! Right?

Chad
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